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Winemaking Tutorial - Lesson Seven

Bottling and Corking

Whew! We're almost done... hang in there!

  1. Take a good hard look at your wine. You should only bottle wine if it is crystal clear. If it is not clear, you should keep the wine in the carboy under airlock until it falls clear, or you have the option of filtering your wine. If you have little white specks floating on the top of the wine, no problem. It's probably just remnants from Isinglass; we'll remove them in step #4 below.
  2. If your wine is clear and ready for bottling, remove the airlock and bung.
  3. Sanitize and rinse your siphon and hose, then siphon the wine into a sanitized and rinsed fermenting bucket.
    NOTE: If aging past six months, we recommend adding an extra 1/4 teaspoon of potassium metabisulfite to the primary fermenter to prevent premature oxidation of the wine.
  4. If your wine has little white specks floating on top - a carryover from Isinglass - simply strain them off using a sanitized seine / strainer.
  5. At this point, you have the privilege of adjusting the wine to suit your taste by adding (in small amounts with stirring) some sugar syrup (some kits have this enclosed) and/or wine conditioner (item #2746) to "swing" the wine to your taste buds. This is what makes winemaking so interesting! You can actually "tailor" your wine according to your preferences; just be sure to make notes as you go along so you can repeat the process for your next batch.
    Hint: If someone in your family likes dry wine, while others like sweeter wine, bottle the dry wine first, then sweeten the remaining wine and bottle it last.
  6. Attach a siphon hose to the end of the spigot located at the bottom of the fermenting bucket.
  7. Fill clean, sanitized wine bottles with wine from the bucket. You should fill the bottles using a bottling wand (recommended) or but you can bottle straight from the bucket using the spigot to start/stop the flow of wine (not recommended, since the likelihood of spilling is greatly enhanced). Fill the bottles so that once the corks are seated in place, you will have about 3/4" to 1" of air space between the top of the wine and the bottom of the cork.
  8. Cork the bottles using a hand or floor corker. The top of the cork should be flush with the top of the bottle.
    NOTE: There is a lot of debate among winemakers whether to soak your corks in recently boiled / sulfited water for 10 minutes prior to corking. All I can say is that I have always corked wine with dry corks (either the agglomerated or the Altec variety), and have never had a leak!
  9. Label your wine bottles with the FREE wine labels provided by grapestompers (when you purchase your wine kits from us). Alternatively, take a look at other labeling hints and ideas.
  10. Allow your bottles to be stored upright for 1 day after corking. Bottles should then be stored on their sides to keep the corks moist.
  11. If you wish, you may dress up the tops of your bottles with colorful capsules or bottling wax before storage. Optimum wine storage conditions are 55° F and 70% humidity, out of direct light.

 

Although your wine is drinkable now, it will improve with age!

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